You know what they used to say in the school yard, right? Sticks and stones may break your bones but words can never harm you. “They” didn’t understand the horrible emotional injuries that can be a direct result of cyberbullying. Technology takes bullying behavior such as harassment and intimidation – name calling and rumor-spreading — off the playground and out of the locker room and cafeteria. Now, with cyberbullying, bullies have the ability to wreak havoc on-the-go.
Thank you Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, texting and whatever other apps bullies can get a hold of to torture their victims.
Most cyberbullying takes place among high school and middle school kids. Perhaps they are old enough to know better but not smart enough to realize that the charges associated with cyberbullying are serious in New Jersey. Charges may include criminal harassment, terroristic threats, domestic violence and even civil rights violations.
If your child is facing charges associated with cyberbullying, your first call should be to an experienced criminal defense lawyer.
In New Jersey, prosecutors will decide how to proceed with cyberbullying cases bases on the age of the defendant and how “pervasive or severe” the activity can be considered. If the defendant is over 18, they can be charged with a misdemeanor. Someone under 18 may be charged in juvenile court. Rest assured, the penalties are severe and long-lasting. These are serious crimes that may remain on a permanent record.
New Jersey takes HIB – harassment, intimidation and bullying – extremely seriously. Further, the penalties associated with conviction of HIB-related crimes, especially online offenses, can be life-altering. It’s not unusual for victims of cyberbullying attacks to harm themselves. It’s entirely possible that a bully can find themselves charged with offenses far beyond texting unkind words.
Cyberbullying uses any type of technology, including social media, computers and cell/smart phones, to attack another person. Remember, there does not have to be a threat of physical violence. It can be all verbal. It can even be done through the posting of images. In fact, exposing personal information about another person (that the victim clearly did not intend to be made public) may be considered cyberbullying.
Examples of cyberbullying actions include:
- Threatening a person online technology – direct email or text or social media post
- Hacking into someone’s else’s accounts and posting embarrassing information
- Putting offensive or embarrassing videos or photos online
- Sending personal or confidential information about one person to another person using a cell phone or email
Don’t make the mistake others make of viewing cyberbullying as a “kids will be kids” situation. The charges, and potential criminal penalties, are very real. Contact a lawyer who will fight for your child and protect their rights every step of the way.
John W. Tumelty is an experienced, aggressive criminal defense lawyer who will investigate the cyberbullying-related charges your child is facing and work tirelessly to defend them. When possible, he will negotiate with the prosecutor to downgrade the charges. When necessary, he will fight for your family in court. Contact him today for a free consultation about your charges.